Boletes (Boletaceae)

Description: If you can picture a hamburger bun on a thick stalk, you will have a good idea of what most boletes look like. These sturdy, fleshy mushrooms can be mistaken at first glance for gilled mushrooms, but if you turn over a cap you will find a spongy layer of pores on the underside rather than bladelikegills. The pore layer can easily be pulled away from the cap.
Bolete caps are usually brownish or reddish-brown, while the pores may be whitish, yellow, orange, red, olive or brownish. Size: up to 10 inches tall; caps 1 to 10 inches wide.
There are more than 200 species of boletes in North America. The King Bolete (Boletus edulis) is probably the best edible.
When and Where: Summer and fall; on the ground near or under trees. Frequently found under pines.
Cautions: Boletes are considered a good, safe edible group for beginning mushroom collectors. However, you should observe these cautions:
1. A few boletes are poisonous. To avoid these, don't eat any boletes that have orange or red pores.
2. Some boletes, while not poisonous, are very distasteful. Check this by tasting a pinch of the raw mushroom cap. If it is bitter or otherwise unpleasant, throw it out.
3. To make them more digestible, boletes should be cooked before eating. If the cap is slimy, peel off the slime layer; it sometimes causes diarrhea.
4. Bugs seem to like boletes as much as people do, so check your specimens carefully. Boletes also tend to decay quickly. Be sure to collect and eat only fresh specimens.
Cooking Hints: Remove tough stems, and peel off the pore layer in all but the youngest specimens.
Saute in butter and add to any cheese dish. Dried boletes also are good in soups.

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